It all started with my trying to improve on the proven. Family gathering coming up, and I wanted to make the ULTIMATE fried chicken–being the matriarch and all. Surely the recipe from one of the top Food Network chefs would be the ticket! SO—I bought a large cast iron chicken fryer from “you know where,” bought just the right sizes of Organic Chickens to the tune of $3.00+ per pound along with a large amount of Crisco, buttermilk, and fresh flour. (Flour gets stale if you don’t cook anymore than I do, and you forget to put it in the freezer.) The instructions read to be sure to keep the cooking fat at a steady temperature. Borrowed a cooking thermometer and I was ready.
After work on Saturday I began the process of making this perfect fried chicken. I learned from my grandmother that chicken needs to be put in salty water–brining, it’s called now. Buttermilk, salt, some
seasonings All set for the first step toward perfection. Place chicken pieces in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Done.
The next day all the ingredients were assembled: Crisco melting in the pan, thermometer clipped to the side of the fryer, chicken drained and dipped in the flavored flour. When the Crisco reached the appropriate temperature, I strategically placed the chicken into the frying pan. Temperature watched carefully to be sure it is steady, letting brown, turning (h-m-m–seems to be getting a little TOO brown at that temp, but must follow directions.)
Eventually, all the chicken had been fried, and after it had cooled, I took a bite–Yum? NO-O-O! Yuck! TOO SALTY!!!!! We had to order TAKE-OUT. But I couldn’t throw all of that expensive chicken into the trash. SO–Strip off the skin and crust, debone, boil in fresh water three times, shred, add chopped hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped celery, dill relish, mayonnaise and a few red grapes, and, believe it or not, just a little salt. Delicious! Just what I had in mind in the first place.
Thus my recipe for Accidental Chicken Salad. Enjoy! But as for fried chicken, I’ll go back to doing it the way I ‘ve done it for 60+ years.